Man jailed after bomb materials are found at parents’ home in southeast Arlington

Posted Sunday, May. 12, 2013  Print Reprints

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Residents of a southeast Arlington neighborhood were evacuated late Saturday after a man was arrested in connection with a fire at one home and the discovery of bomb-making materials at another.

Michael Alex Johnson, believed to be in his early 30s, was being held Sunday night at the Arlington jail on charges of arson and false alarm or report. Bail was set at $2 million, according to jail records.

The incident began about 9:30 p.m. Saturday in the 400 block of Quail Roost Lane, where a resident noticed a fire burning between two vehicles in a driveway.

Firefighters extinguished the fire, but the remnants of the blaze, “looked kind of fishy,” said Lt. Kevin Seeton, spokesman for the Arlington Fire Department.

The molten blob seemed to be some sort of plastic container that had held a flammable liquid and cartridges of an unknown caliber, Seeton said.

“Investigators started poking around and they learned someone saw a neighbor from two houses down set the container down and walk away,” Seeton said. “And then it started burning.”

A search warrant was obtained for the house two doors down, Seeton said.

After serving the warrant, investigators found items that made them “throw up a red flag,”

“He had some piping with end caps and different wiring,” Seeton said.

Powdery substances were also found and “tons of samples were taken,” Seeton said.

Investigators set up a perimeter around the house for 300 feet in all directions, forcing the evacuation of several homes while the bomb squad collected evidence.

The neighborhood is southwest of the intersection of Eden and Silo roads, and a few blocks west of Juan Seguin High School.

Evacuated residents returned home Sunday morning when the bomb squad and arson investigators lifted the perimeter.

The home that was searched belongs to Johnson’s parents, Seeton said. They were not home when the incident began Saturday, but they were contacted and have been cooperating with investigators, Seeton said.

Residents on Sunday didn’t know why the burning container was placed in the driveway.

“They said the suspect had no ties to the neighbor — no conflicts or anything,” Seeton said. “So, it’s kind of a strange story.”

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST